Do Slugs Eat Ferns (This Will Surprise You!)

Slugs are known to be voracious eaters and can cause significant damage to a variety of plants. Ferns, with their tender foliage, are often a target for these slimy creatures. The question of whether slugs eat ferns is a common one among gardeners and plant enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore the feeding habits of slugs, their attraction to ferns, and methods to protect ferns from slug damage

Do Slugs Eat Ferns?

Yes, slugs do eat ferns. If you have beautiful ferns in your garden and want to protect them from being eaten by slugs and snails, there are effective methods you can employ to keep slugs from eating your ornamental fern plants.

By following these practical steps, you can keep your ferns safe and free from slug damage.

  1. Strategically place slug-deterrent plants: Certain plants, such as lavender, rosemary, and sage, have natural properties that repel slugs. By planting these slug-deterring plants around your ferns, you create a barrier that slugs are less likely to cross. This is a responsible and eco-friendly method to protect your ferns without resorting to harmful chemicals.
  2. Create physical barriers: Slugs are slow-moving creatures, so creating physical barriers can be an effective way to prevent them from reaching your ferns. You can use copper tape, which slugs dislike due to its mild electric charge. Simply wrap the tape around the pots or create a ring around the ferns to keep slugs at bay. Another option is to place sharp materials like crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth around the base of the ferns. These sharp substances deter slugs from crawling over them.
  3. Regularly maintain your garden: Keeping your garden tidy and well-maintained can help reduce slug populations. Slugs thrive in moist environments, so ensure there are no areas where water collects or excessive vegetation accumulates. Remove any debris, fallen leaves, or decaying plant matter that may attract slugs. Regularly inspect your ferns and remove any slugs you find by hand, disposing of them in a responsible manner, such as relocating them to a distant natural area.

By following these practical steps, you can successfully protect your ferns from slugs. Remember to be persistent and consistent in your efforts, as slugs can be persistent too. With your proactive approach, you can maintain the beauty of your ferns and enjoy a slug-free garden once again.

Key Takeaways

  • Lavender, rosemary, sage, hydrangeas, and euphorbias are plants that can help deter slugs from eating ferns.
  • Copper tape, crushed eggshells, and applying this type of readily available diatomaceous earth on are few of many physical barriers that can be used to prevent slugs from reaching ferns.
  • Regular garden maintenance, such as removing decaying plant matter and manually removing slugs, can help reduce slug populations and protect ferns.
  • Natural remedies like copper strips, coffee grounds, diatomaceous earth, and crushed eggshells can be effective in controlling slug infestations and protecting ferns.

Are Ferns a Delight for Slugs

Ferns aren’t a favorite food for slugs and snails. These slimy pests tend to avoid ferns due to their thick leaves, which act as a natural deterrent. Ferns thrive in moist, well-drained areas with shade, making them even less appealing to slugs and snails. Unlike other plants in the garden, ferns generally don’t require additional feeding and can thrive in low-maintenance conditions.

The thick foliage of ferns serves as a barrier against pests, making them an excellent choice for ground-covering and background plants in areas prone to slug infestations. If you’re looking for plants that are unappealing to slugs and snails, ferns are a practical and responsible option.

To create a slug-resistant environment, consider planting ferns in areas with good drainage and shade. Regularly inspect your garden for any signs of slugs or snails and manually remove them if necessary. Avoid using harmful pesticides or chemicals, as they can have negative effects on the environment and other beneficial organisms.

Ferns Vs. Slugs: Who Wins

To protect your ferns from slugs and snails, there are certain plants you can incorporate into your garden that act as natural deterrents. These plants have properties that make them unappealing or uncomfortable for slugs and snails, helping to keep them away from your ferns.

Here are four plants that can assist in slug control and safeguard your ferns:

  1. Hydrangeas: These beautiful ornamental plants thrive in wet conditions and serve as a barrier against slugs and snails. Planting hydrangeas around your ferns can create a protective zone.
  2. Euphorbias: Slugs and snails find the milky sap of Euphorbias distasteful, making them effective at deterring these pests. By including Euphorbias in your garden, you can keep slugs and snails away from your ferns.
  3. Lavender: Known for its strong fragrance, lavender is disliked by slugs and snails. By strategically placing lavender plants near your ferns, you can help deter these garden pests.
  4. Geraniums: Slugs are uncomfortable with the hairy stems and leaves of geraniums, making them less likely to approach your ferns. Additionally, geraniums can help suppress weed growth in your garden.

Protecting Ferns From Slugs

To protect your ferns from slugs, you can follow several proactive measures. One effective method is to create a barrier around your ferns by strategically planting certain slug-repellent plants in your cottage garden. Lavender, geraniums, and fuchsias are known to deter slugs and snails, so consider including them in your garden.

Another option is to introduce ground beetles to your garden. These beetles are natural predators of slugs and can help control their population. You can attract ground beetles by creating suitable habitats, such as providing leaf litter and damp areas.

If you’re dealing with a severe slug infestation, you may also consider using slug pellets. However, it’s important to exercise caution when using them. Slug pellets can be harmful to other wildlife, so it’s crucial to carefully follow the instructions and place the pellets in a safe area away from pets and children. Remember, responsible use is key.

In addition to these measures, it’s essential to monitor your ferns regularly. By regularly inspecting your plants, you can identify slug damage early on and take appropriate action. Promptly removing any slugs you find can help prevent further damage to your ferns.

Natural Remedies for Slug Infestations on Ferns

If your ferns are being plagued by slug infestations, there are several natural remedies you can try to combat this problem. In addition to the effective beer traps, here are four more methods you can use to protect your ferns:

  1. Copper strips: To create a barrier that slugs won’t cross, place copper strips around the base of your ferns. The copper’s texture is unpleasant for slugs, deterring them from reaching your plants.
  2. Coffee grounds: Sprinkling coffee grounds around the soil surface of your ferns can help repel slugs. The acidity and rough texture of the coffee grounds are unappealing to slugs, making them less likely to feast on your plants.
  3. Diatomaceous earth: Consider dusting diatomaceous earth around your ferns. This natural substance contains microscopic sharp particles that cut through the slugs’ soft bodies, effectively killing them. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging for safe application.
  4. Eggshells: Crushed eggshells can be a useful deterrent for slugs. Scatter the small pieces around your ferns, paying attention to areas where slugs are likely to approach. The sharp edges of the eggshells will irritate and deter slugs from reaching your plants.

Creating a Slug-Resistant Fern Garden

If you want to create a slug-resistant fern garden, there are some effective strategies you can follow. Incorporating slug-resistant plants like ferns with thick leaves will help deter slugs and snails. But that’s not all – there are other plants you can add to your garden to keep those pesky slugs away.

Consider planting Japanese anemones, which bloom in early spring and have beautiful flowers that add color to your garden spots. These anemones are also easy to grow and have dark green foliage that slugs tend to avoid.

Another option is to include plants like hydrangeas, which not only create a barrier against pests but also thrive in moist, well-drained spots with shade.

For a fragrant addition, plant lavender strategically as its strong fragrance deters slugs and snails.

Lastly, consider adding rosemary to your garden, as it’s incredibly hardy and has a fragrance that repels slugs and snails.

To summarize, here are the characteristics of each plant:

  • Japanese Anemones: They bloom in early spring, are easy to grow, and have dark green foliage.
  • Hydrangeas: They create a barrier against pests and thrive in moist, well-drained spots with shade.
  • Lavender: Its strong fragrance deters slugs and snails.
  • Rosemary: It’s incredibly hardy and has a fragrance that repels slugs and snails.


Yes, slugs do eat ferns. However, there are effective ways to protect your ferns from slug and snail attacks. By following these practical tips, you can ensure the safety of your ferns and maintain the beauty of your garden.

Firstly, consider strategically placing slug-resistant plants like lavender, geraniums, and fuchsia in your garden. These plants have natural properties that repel slugs and snails, making them an excellent choice to surround your ferns. By creating a barrier of these plants, you can deter slugs from reaching your ferns in the first place.

In addition to planting slug-resistant species, it’s also recommended to create physical barriers around your ferns. This can be achieved by using materials like copper tape or crushed eggshells. Slugs and snails dislike the sensation of crawling over these sharp or metallic surfaces, so they’ll be discouraged from approaching your ferns.

Regular garden maintenance is crucial to control slug and snail populations. Keep your garden clean and tidy, removing any debris or hiding spots that may attract these pests. Slugs and snails thrive in moist environments, so make sure to eliminate any excess moisture by watering your plants in the morning and avoiding overwatering.

Another responsible method to protect your ferns is to manually remove slugs and snails from your garden. This can be done by handpicking them during early morning or evening when they’re most active. You can also set up slug traps using beer or a mixture of yeast, sugar, and water, as these substances attract slugs and snails.

By implementing these natural remedies and responsible gardening practices, you can create a slug-resistant fern garden. This will allow you to enjoy the beauty of ferns without constantly worrying about them being eaten by slugs. Remember to regularly monitor your garden and take immediate action if you spot any signs of slug or snail damage.

In conclusion, while slugs do eat ferns, there are effective ways to protect them. By strategically planting slug-resistant species, creating physical barriers, maintaining your garden, and manually removing slugs and snails, you can ensure the safety of your ferns and enjoy a thriving garden.

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